Dodge Demon: the lowdown
Dodge is a brand intent on filling every niche going, it seems. The American firm used to be known in Britain only for its V10-powered Viper supercar, but it's expanding like there's no tomorrow - and this MX-5-rivalling Demon roadster, unveiled today, could be next. It's a high-fun, low-price two-seater aimed squarely at the Mazda soft-top. So many companies have taken aim at the MX-5 over the years, but nobody's quite stolen its crown. Could the Demon be that car?
So what's the spec on the Demon?
Dodge hasn't messed with the MX-5's simple formula. The Demon is a front-engined, rear-drive roadster, powered by a straightforward, naturally aspirated 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine (sourced from Mitsubishi). Peak power is 172bhp, maximum torque stands at 165lb ft. It's pretty slim around the hips, weighing in at 1179kg - only 84kg more than an MX-5. And with that extra muscle, it should sprint to 62mph in just under 8.0sec.
Sounds promising. Will the Demon be built, though?
So many concept cars are the automotive equivalent of a prick-tease. Not with Dodge, though. The Americans have a history of putting their show cars into production: the Caliber, Nitro and Avenger will all have made it into Dodge showrooms by the end of this year. The Hornet concept, too, is destined to make it into production by next year; Dodge has signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese maker Chery and we expect the chunky supermini on sale within two years.
What's the Demon like inside?
Designer Dan Zimmermann told CAR Online that the interior was meant to ape classic British roadsters. A single bar runs the width of the dashboard, encompassing the instrument panel, air vents and stereo, with the climate controls mounted just beneath this. The dash is enlightened by flashes of aluminium, accenting the black plastics and upholstery. It'll be bigger than the MX-5's cabin; the Demon is just shorter than its Mazda nemesis, but also wider and with a substantially longer 2429mm wheelbase. There's some storage space behind the front seats, and a boot for weekend-away luggage.
Ok, so how excited should we be?
The Dodge Demon looks pretty good, we reckon. There's a hint of 350Z from some angles and echoes of Honda's S2000 in the long-bonnet balance of the car - but you're not going to mistake this for anything but a Dodge. That crosshair grille and butch rear wheelarches give this car an immediately recognisable character. In development, the Demon was dubbed ASC, standing for affordable sports car, and it's engineered to cost MX-5 money. For a concept car, it's incredibly well finished (just look at the production readiness of that cabin switchgear). We'd wager it'll be on sale within two years for around £15,000.